"Rhyme Time: Got poetry in your soul? Celebrate the lines you love (from Emily Dickinson to Eminem). April 30 is Poem in Your Pocket Day. Pick a favorite and carry it to share with family and friends. April is National Poetry Month." Ladies' Home Journal, April 2009
Calhoun, Georgia: Retha W. celebrated Poem in Your Pocket Day by passing out personalized scrolls of poems to her niece's preschool class. Retha described how each child held the poems "in their hands with such care and reverence, as though holding precious jewels...they clamored to have their poems read aloud and listened with real interest."
Charlottesville, VA: Volunteers distributed 2,768 poem scrolls throughout the community, including at the University of Virginia hospital complex, 3 UVA Libraries, all public library branches, 6 local restaurants, and the Senior Center.
Berkeley, California: The staff of Mrs. Dalloway's Literary & Garden Arts, an independent bookstore, handed out over 2,600 pocket-sized poems to customers as part of their National Poetry Month activities. The poems were selected by San Francisco-based poets.
Sample Library Display
Cleveland, Ohio: "I celebrated National Poem in Your Pocket Day by giving out select poems to my regular customers at the Photo Lab checkout counter." Larry S. explained. "I brought in several poems from famous authors, each handwritten on a sheet of manuscript paper. Each poem was inserted into a small watercolor envelope complete with the author's name and the year of its creation,"
Hartford, Connecticut: Students at Sedgewick Middle School placed cardboard pockets filled with poems around the school, and students served as "Poetry Ambassadors" by providing poems around the school and encouraging other students and staff to read them to one another throughout the day.
Charlottesville, Virginia: A street team of librarians and students distributed nearly 3,000 poem scrolls to local hospitals, other libraries, restaurants, and a local senior citizens center.
Geneso, Illinois: The students, teachers, and staff at Geneso Middle School shared an exciting day of impromptu readings and discussions of the favorite poems. Teachers even gathered in the library to sing a selection of Emily Dickinson poems set to various melodies.
Decorah, Iowa: College students filled several baskets with a selection of pocket-sized poems and spent the day distributing them at popular gathering areas around the campus.
Pennsylvania: A registered nurse spent the distributing poems about nursing to other nurses and physicians. The poems yielded many smiles, some tears, hugs, and an abundance of thanks from the recipients.
Nebraska City, Nebraska: Book Clinic, Inc., an independent bookstore, combined their celebration of Poem in Your Pocket Day and National Arbor Day by holding a student writing contest for the best tree-themed poem. The store also featured pockets and poetry books in their window display, and gave each customer a poem with every purchase.
San Francisco, California: National Poetry Month found a place in the vineyards of California. Waits-Mast Family Cellar curated and published a special chapbook of poetry, which featured the work of eight Northern California poets. They gave the limited-edition collection away with any purchase of wine.
NEW YORK HIGHLIGHTS
View the video of Academy staff handing out poems in New York City
"To mark the sixth annual Poem in Your Pocket Day (not to mention National Poetry Month) volunteers with the Academy of American Poets handed out poems this morning to commuters at Grand Central Terminal. The poems included works drawn from New York City life by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Claude McKay, Walt Whitman and Emma Lazarus, as well as verses of the poetry legends Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson."
Sewell Chan, The New York Times, April 17, 2008
Brooklyn, NY: Public School 24 reminds the community of the national event.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
Gambier, Ohio: Kenyon College students created a clothesline with poems for pockets.
Bishop, California: Spellbinder Books & Coffee offered a free homemade cookie for every poem in a pocket brought to the store and read to the staff.
Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress organized a lunch reading of poems from pockets, live and via the web. Visitors with a published poem in their pocket received a 20% discount at the Library of Congress Sales Shop on April 17.
West Chester, Pennsylvania: "Our First Annual Poem in Your Pocket Day saw paper pockets on windows and bulletin boards with copies of poems for people to take," says Lois Markiewicz, a Stetson Middle School teacher. "I wore as many pockets as I could and had a different poem in each one. I can't pick one poem."
Tucson, Arizona: In honor of National Poetry Month, Bookmans Grant gave 10% off to customers who observed Poem in Your Pocket Day. "Yes, it's really that self-explanatory!" declared their press release. "Carry a poem in your pocket on Thursday, April 17th, and share it with us for some discount love."
Nashville, Tennessee: Students at Vanderbilt University created a booth on the Vanderbilt "Wall," an area all students pass on their way to and from classes, to pass out pocket-sized poems and information about National Poetry Month.
Akron, Ohio: Professor Mary Biddinger celebrated Poem in Your Pocket Day with her undergraduate poetry students.
Send your own Poem in Your Pocket Day highlights to firstname.lastname@example.org.